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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Not everything Biblical is Christian. Part 14 - dehumanization

When Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan he tried to enlighten his listeners on the principle that we are all children of God. All of us are each other's neighbors. He wants all of us to love our neighbors. In the kingdom of Jesus, there is no us and them, just us. Even enemies are us. Jesus tells us to bless our enemies, like we would our friends. Our neighbors are those in need. Who is not in need? Jesus teaches that when we help those in need, we are worshipping him. "Whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done to me," and it's corollary, "Whatever you have not done to the least of these, you have not done to me." Matthew 25.

Who are the privileged in the society I am a part of? Me. I am a white, educated male. Who suffers under the privilege of white males in my society? Women. African Americans. Minorities...racial and sexual. These two topics in particular are huge this week in America.

1- A young white man sat in on a Bible study at the Immanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. At the end of it, he stood up and shot to death nine people, because of his racism. I listened to a great podcast with two interviews of African American believers. I encourage everyone to listen to episode 99 of the Bad Christian podcast, either through iTunes or Soundcloud. One of the men interviewed is the son of an usher at that church. His dad mistakenly thought the study had been canceled that night, otherwise he would have been in that room as well. Although the people of Charleston are rallying together, racism is alive and well. This man has a music ministry in the South, leading worship at camps and churches. Once he married a white woman however, his invitations evaporated. One friend of his, lost his job at a church after inviting this man and his wife to sing. Miscegenation, intermarriage between "races" (a social construct), though not supported by most of the church historically or universally, still has a hold in congregations of racists. These racists find Biblical support for their views from the Bible's commands against intermarriage. Google makes it easy to find these arguments, gag. Their interpretations may be Biblical, but not Christian.

2- The Supreme Court of the United States ruled this week that homosexual couples cannot be denied the benefits of marriage contracts anywhere in this country. It's ruling is not unlike the ruling nearly 50 years ago overturning anti-miscegenation marriage laws. It is awkward seeing so many Christians warning about the wrath of God in light of this ruling. The thing that seems to piss off God, according to Jesus in Matthew 25 is the maltreatment of our neighbors. Denying our gay neighbors the social and legal benefits of marriage contracts because of their orientation, in my thinking, is the same as denying marriage to interracial couples. Just as churches still refuse to marry interracial couples, churches will still have the "freedom" to refuse to marry gay couples. Jesus still loves those churches. Anti-homosexuality may be biblical (or not), but not everything biblical is Christian.

Stupid and ignorant are not greater than God's love. I am both and Jesus loves me. I know this because Jesus is love. We can either receive him or ignore him. I want to be a conduit of his love. From him through me, to my neighbors, white and black and in between, straight and gay and in between, judgmental and open and affirming. I think this is biblical and Christian.



Series review----------------------
This is part 14 of the series, Not everything Biblical is ChristianPart one points out that the words of Satan recorded in the Bible are not Christian doctrine. Part two shows the Sermon on the Mount overruling the cursing of enemies exhibited in Psalm 137. Parts three and four show Moses getting overruled by Ezekiel and Jesus. Part five merely brushes the concept of source criticism.  Part six looks at the Old Testament application in the early church: a brief summary of the book of Acts. Part seven looks at how the church has worked this out regarding slavery. Part eight, showed one example of how an unchristian part of the Bible helps tell the Christian story. Part nine asks who would Jesus hate? Part 10 discusses women as Biblically approved spoils of war. Part 11 discusses divorce. Part 12 discusses the imposition of Bronze Age social constructs onto our diverse and complex modern world. Part 13 discusses women as property in the Biblical world.

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